State board gives coach reprimand

LAWRENCEVILLE - A local football coach accused of inappropriate behavior at his high school's prom last spring was reportedly reprimanded by a state ethics board.

Officials with the Gwinnett County Public Schools confirmed that Parkview High School football coach Cecil Flowe received a formal reprimand from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for erratic behavior at the school's May 6 prom. He was previously reprimanded by the school system.

But Gary Walker, the director of the commission's ethics division, would not confirm the results of Flowe's Thursday hearing until they became official, which requires a signed letter confirming the ruling. The letter will not be sent out until the middle of next week, he said.

"We did hear the case today, but we don't release any information until the case is closed," Walker said Thursday. "Some last for years with appeals."

Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said the district had not been officially notified of the hearing results, but that she does not expect an appeal. The district finished its investigation in May, then forwarded the case to the Professional Standards Commission, as required.

"I don't anticipate any further action on this matter," Roach said.

Flowe, a popular football coach who won state titles for Parkview's football team in 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2002, was accused of being under the influence of alcohol when he chaperoned the prom. Students reported that he acted uncharacteristically, encouraging them to dance and joining them on the dance floor.

According to the district's reprimand, Flowe told Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks that his behavior was the result of prescription medication, not alcohol.

An inquiry by the school system released later that month supported Flowe's claim, but Wilbanks still maintained, in his reprimand, that Flowe should not have attended the prom having taken the medication.

A written reprimand added to Flowe's personnel file by Wilbanks May 15 warned that any similar conduct could result in his termination. Flowe, who declined comment about the ruling, has not spoken publicly about the case.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission could have decided to reprimand or suspend Flowe, or revoke his license. The reprimand admonishes him for his behavior, and is a warning that further unethical behavior could lead to a more severe action.

Flowe's case was forwarded to the commission after he was accused of violating two standards of the Code of Ethics for Educators. Those standards prohibit educators from being under the influence of alcohol at school functions and require them to act in a professional manner when performing their duties.

Walker said the commission heard 59 cases Thursday, including several that were gruesome.

"One of our hearings today dealt with two murders," Walker said. "We get a lot of cases here that really are of a very serious nature."